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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Agriculture in the News

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Some recent noteworthy stories and blog posts on agriculture: 

Farming in Kenya 

Top Producer magazine has a lengthy report, “Africa in Full Bloom,” which takes a deep look at how Kenya’s fragile farming system is struggling to keep pace with population growth. The story discusses land availability and other significant challenges; empowering low-income earners with training and capacity development; and how mobile is becoming a critical component for the country and its agricultural system.

Top Producer also has a extensive list of stories from an extended visit to Africa: Farming the Kenyan Way

Getting Ag’s Message Heard First Requires Listening 

California farmer/rancher Jeff Fowle has some insightful words on how best to have agriculture’s message heard: first, you listen. Fowle spoke at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, and discussed the importance of social media, optimizing rather than maximizing agriculture, and the critical need to listen to customers. 

This report by Delta Farm Press on Fowle’s remarks says the farmer describes himself as is “just a cowboy who latched on to technology and social media” as part of his “passion for talking to others about agriculture and telling our great story.”

Fowle blogs at Common Sense Agriculture.

Ideas for Aging U.S. Locks and Dams 

American Agriculturalist (a Farm Progress publication) has a story on how the Soy Checkoff is taking a hard look at the aging locks and dams along the Mississippi River. Low water levels and normal wear and tear have taken a toll on this important infrastructure for agriculture. 

See Drought Conjures Ideas for Aging US Locks and Dams

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is promising a deeper Mississippi River channel by Jan. 11. 

Cultivating Master Farmers Program 

FarmweekNow.com (RFD Radio Network) has a story on applications being open for the Cultivating Master Farmers Program in Illinois. It’s a two-year program designed “to unite different generations of Illinois farmers through the exchange of personal ideas, knowledge, and production experience.” 

The program is sponsored by 1st Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, GROWMARK, Illinois Farm Bureau, Monsanto, and Prairie Farmer. 

2013 High Cotton Winners 

The U.S. National Cotton Council reports that the winners of this year’s 2013 Farm Press – Cotton Foundation High Cotton Awards had to overcome multiple obstacles –pricing issues, excessive rain and drought, and rising input costs. 

The awards are given annually to “cotton producers in each of the four Farm Press coverage areas who produce good cotton yields while taking good care of the land and water on their farms.” 

How Drought Might Affect 2013 Crops 

Mark Grundmeier, product manager at Latham Seeds, based in Iowa, discusses how drought might affect crops this year. He collected and condensed reports from researchers across the Upper Midwest. His report was posted by Latham Seeds on its blog, The Field Position

And Dan Piller, reporter for The Des Moines Register, writes that even after the blizzards of December, Iowa’s soil is still 87 percent moisture short.

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